Rondellus CD review [The Music Cartel]

Music Reviews
Rondellus CD review [The Music Cartel]
Jan 28, 2003, 03:36


RONDELLUS Sabbatum: A Medieval Tribute to Black Sabbath CD

Tribute, schmibute. This Medieval folk interpretation of Black Sabbath songs—sung in Latin, no less!—is more like discovering the key to Stonehenge. While all those redundant and imitative “stoner rock” bands painstakingly mimic Tony Iommi's guitar style and the rhythmic thunder of Bill Ward and Geezer Butler, none has captured the powerful archaic essence within the music of Black Sabbath. Well, OK, maybe Neurosis and Sleep have astutely brought forth the Birmingham boys' harmonium hum within the skull-thwacking riffage, but not until this peculiar (and fortunately un-ironic) album has anyone distilled the pure Iron Age weight of the centuries within Sabbath's songs that made it so fucking intense. You simply haven't HEARD “War Pigs” until you hear it sung a cappella in Latin by two women in versicle form. “A National Acrobat” never sounded so melancholy and regal as this version featuring two violins, a frame drum and a soprano voice. Ozzy's vocal melodies never sounded so beautiful as this version of “Spiral Architect” indicates. The droning whir of “Symptom of The Universe” never sounded so leaden as it does played by two “organistrums” (whatever those may be…they sound like harmonium type instruments) and sung by a male tenor. “After Forever” never sounded so scary as it does sung in triad harmony by three male voices. This review might seem sarcastic, just as the material seems a little far-fetched at times, but it's no joke. Rondellus has truly captured something that eludes every band that sought to imitate the sinister Sabbath lunge and crawl. Those who love and live by the classic Iommi/Ward/Osbourne/Butler sound will find plenty to appreciate within, and probably approach those old albums with fresh ears. [The Music Cartel]

-Dave Clifford

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